Changes Announced to ARC - Competition Moved to Aug/Sept, Relegation Match for 6th Place Team
Some interesting changes to the Americas Rugby Championship, the tournament will be moved from the February window to August/September to align and not conflict with the MLR. The MLR season runs from February to June, the summer tests will be July and then ARC in August and September. The November test window will remain unchanged.
Canada have two home games in the ARC this year against Brazil on August 22nd and Chile on August 29th. It was a given in February that Canada would host at Westhills but now with the new window it will likely be awarded based on economic merit, in other words where Rugby Canada can make the most money. Apparently offers are already being submitted. We also found out that Canada will be hosting the French Barbarians in Montreal on July 4th. The French Barbarians will visit New York to play USA the following week.
New this year is a relegation match for the 6th place team vs the top team from the new ARCH, Americas Rugby Challenge, involving Colombia, Paraguay, Mexico and one TBD from Americas North. Chile have come 6th the last four years so are contenders for that position but Canada can't be too smug as they were 5th in two of the last four years.
It will be interesting to see the selection policy at the beginning of the new RWC cycle. Kingsley Jones had a closed shop policy last RWC cycle, putting his faith in a small group of players with the idea they would become better with constant selection. It didn't really work. Hopefully at the beginning of this four year cycle we'll see a wider opening on the selection funnel and a chance to see more players try to prove their readiness for international competition. Certainly MLR will be one of Jones go to sources but now the Pacific Pride are in the equation, also the Canada U20 team past and present hopefully will factor in as well. from World Rugby
Rugby Americas has announced positive changes to its senior men’s XV competition structure in order to further assist the growth of the game across the region by minimising the conflict amongst competitions.
The Americas Rugby Championship (ARC) – Rugby Americas’ flagship high-performance tournament for men’s XV – will now take place in August and September from 2020 onward.
The 2020 schedule announcement aligns with the global competition calendar and occurs just weeks after record-breaking Rugby World Cup 2019 (RWC) ended with South Africa lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy in Japan.
The new calendar focuses on optimising high-performance outcomes for players in the Americas region while minimizing conflict with club & professional duties from January to June.
In addition to the third season of Major League Rugby that will get underway in February, the Superliga Americana announced last Friday in Montevideo, Uruguay will boost competitiveness across South America. The newly formed six-team competition includes franchises from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile, while another from Colombia will join in 2021.
The change in dates allows for an uninterrupted pre-season and professional competition for athletes in North and South America and a perfect window for national team coaches to evaluate those they want to invite into their assemblies for national duty. The traditional June test match window will now shift to July, before teams compete in the ARC in August & September.
The annual November test window will remain the same.
The six-team round-robin ARC features Argentina XV and the national teams of Brazil, Chile, Canada, Uruguay and USA. In 2020, the competition will take place over five consecutive weekends. Announcements will be made in early 2020 with specific city and venue locations for each match.
In 2020, last season’s champions, Argentina XV will begin their quest for their third tournament title at home against Chile on 15 August 2020 before travelling to Uruguay on the 22 and Brazil on the 29. Following a home fixture against Canada on 5 September, they will end their campaign against two-time winners USA – the only other team to lift the coveted trophy – at home on 12 September.
Since its inception in 2016, the ARC has been vital to the growth and development of rugby across the Americas, with four nations qualifying in the recent RWC in Japan. Rapidly rising Uruguay pulled off one of the most exciting upsets of the tournament, knocking off heavily favoured Fiji 30 – 27 in Kamaishi City.
In World Rugby rankings, Argentina sits atop the Americas standings in 10th place, USA Eagles hold the 17th spot with Uruguay narrowly trailing in 18th position. Canada, Brazil and Chile hold the 22nd, 26th and 29th ranks respectively.
In addition to the ARC, the Americas Rugby Challenge (ARCh) has been underpinning growth throughout the Americas over the last two years.
Moving forward, the winner of the ARCh – which is currently being contested by Colombia and Paraguay representing Sudámerica Rugby, along with Mexico and the 2020 TBD Champion from Rugby Americas North – will play a one game playoff against the 6th place finisher from the ARC for a promotion – relegation showdown.
The one-game playoff, held at the location of the 6th place finisher from the ARC, will take place during the November test match window.
Following a similar format from the past two years, the 2020 edition of the ARCh will take place between 22-30 August, with the location still to be announced. The four competing nations will square off in three double-header game days on 22, 26 and 30 August, with the winner being decided based on cumulated points.
Colombia, ranked 33rd, has dominated the competition over the last two years, lifting the trophy on back-to-back occasions, both without conceding a single loss in the tournament.
Mexico made history in the 2019 edition by picking up their first-ever victory over now 46th seeded Paraguay, which vaulted them to their best-ever 44th position – a climb of seven spots. The 2019 Rugby Americas North XV Champions, Cayman Islands, rounded out the competition in 57th position.
World Rugby Vice Chairman and Rugby Americas President Agustín Pichot:
“There has been a lot of hard work, cooperation and contribution amongst all member unions within the Americas to build Under-20 competitions that underpin, both the Americas Rugby Championship and Americas Rugby Challenge. We now have it and a pathway for ARCh champions to compete for promotion to the ARC. It is precisely the merit-based competition model we wanted to create across the Americas. If teams/unions perform, they earn the opportunity to progress upwards.’
Rugby Americas CEO Dan Payne:
“Over the last two years Major League Rugby has provided an invaluable high-performance platform for domestic growth in North America and last Friday’s launch of the Superliga Americana in South America is another exciting step for the Americas. Today’s announcement ensures a proper year-round schedule for clubs, unions and athletes to maximize performance in both professional and national team environments.”
2020 Americas Rugby Championship schedule
Argentina XV - Chile
USA - Canada
Uruguay - Brazil
Canada - Brazil
Uruguay - Argentina XV
USA - Chile
Brazil - Argentina XV
Canada - Chile
USA - Uruguay
Argentina XV - Canada
Brazil - USA
Chile - Uruguay
Argentina XV - USA
Chile - Brazil
Uruguay - Canada
2020 Americas Rugby Challenge
22 August – Double-header game day (TBC)
26 August – Double-header game day (TBC)
30 August – Double-header game day (TBC)